Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The Fall Guy
Now that's what I call timing. The other day I explained why opposition to the Iraq War marks the end of the post-Vietnam era. Today, Josh Marshall discusses advance reports of a speech in which President Bush plans to invoke the Vietnam War to justify his Iraq War policy.
As I said in my previous post, it's a shame Democrats haven't already gotten a head start on this angle. Opposition to the Iraq War hasn't been nearly as divisive as that of the Vietnam War. The broad middle ground of public opinion has largely reached a consensus that transcends generational and cultural boundaries. Even more significantly, with the exception of the Surge (which came out of left field), President Bush's Iraq War policy has consistently been a matter of catching up to public opinion and facts on the ground, usually 6-9 months after those have coalesced.
So, to repeat a bit of what I wrote the other day, this debate has for all intents and purposes been decided. It's only a matter of time before the Iraq War is drawn down. What's at stake in President Bush's speech isn't so much what will happen as how what happens will be framed. The more extreme elements of rightwing opinion have already trotted out a "stabbed in the back by domestic opposition" meme to explain our failure in Iraq. By re-opening the debates of the Vietnam era, President Bush is taking that argument mainstream.
It's absolutely essential that Democrats push back against this attack aggressively. The good news is that the facts are on their side. There are no acid-dropping, tie dye-wearing, pinko Commie-loving, longhaired, unwashed bogeymen to blame this time around. The folks who oppose our continued presence in Iraq work in the same offices, go to the same schools, listen to the same music, and wear the same clothing as the dwindling few who support it.
Democrats need to look straight into the camera and spell it out clearly for the American people: "The person who is ultimately responsible for the failure in Iraq is the President. Not the troops, not the Democrats, and not the people who oppose the war. But instead of taking responsibility for his failure, President Bush is blaming you. The President is blaming you for his failure in Iraq."